A Crash Course on Starting Your Own Etsy Store

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  • 40 hours
  • Beginner

While Etsy is a great place to get your business off the ground, it can feel overwhelming at first. As a selling platform, Etsy does a great job of giving you tips and tricks that better your listings and get your products in front of new customers. What can be hard to tackle though, is the initial Etsy set up—a process that starts before the platform is even involved.

Find Your Product

Before you can open an Etsy shop, you need to decide on a few core products to create, stock, and sell. While you can certainly rotate your inventory around after your shop opens and you see what popular items sell best, you need to have a little inventory built up before you open your online doors.

If you're making crochet stuffed animals and blankets, you could also sell a few crochet patterns. We don't recommend throwing something completely random, like custom dog collars, into the mix when you're first starting though. Shoppers appreciate familiarity and knowing what to expect when they come to a shop. A carefully curated product lineup will build trust and recognition quickly.

If you sell a custom product, have some samples created and tested (and make sure to take lots of pictures).

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Define Your Audience

Before you can sell your product, take a second to figure out who you are selling to. For example, if you run a baby burp cloths shop on Etsy, you would be selling to moms with young babies.

You would also be selling to people wanting to gift these burp cloths to a new mom. After a little research, you determine that your target market, as a general rule, is women ages 25 to 65. And while the more detailed you get with determining your audience the better, a general idea of who wants your product is a great place to start.

You can do audience research by asking Google to do a little of your heavy lifting, looking at similar businesses and who follows them on social media platforms, and accessing market research published by large companies.

Knowing who you're selling to gives you the edge over other Etsy shops.

Get Social

Soon after, or even before, you set up your Etsy shop, make sure to get on social media. You don't need to be on every platform! Strategically pick platforms that work for you and for the product you sell. We do recommend that you get on Instagram and Facebook, set up a business account, and dedicate most of your time to the platform where your target audience spends time. Use hashtags to bring in new potential customers and make sure to engage with people who seem interested.

Social media is a great way to show off the products you sell on Etsy. It's also a great way to let customers get to know you. Giving your customers a peek at the brains behind the business is key because it builds trust and allows you to build brand loyalty.

Photo Shoot

Your pictures will be used on Etsy as well as on social media, so you need them to stand out and look professional. Etsy recommends you use a variety of shots for each product. A few eye-catching shots to draw the eye, detail shots, pictures of the item being used, and any other picture that will help you stand out from the competition. You are selling something awesome! Make sure your pictures reflect that.

We get that it's not always possible to hire a professional product photographer, so tackle photoshoots DIY style. Make sure you're using good natural light for your images. Set up a shot next to your windows for added luminance. Use the rule of thirds and a few simple props to create engaging images that show your product in the best (metaphorical) light.

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Understand Etsy

Once you've got all of your ducks in a row, it's time to tackle the Etsy set up. While this process looks different from person to person, one thing is for sure—it takes a chunk of time. Set aside a few hours to go through the setup process so that you can be thorough. Gather all of your digital assets beforehand so that you don't start and stop the process a hundred times. Many an Etsy shop has fallen victim to the old start and stop method, and in the beginning, it's usually best to just set it all up at once.

Etsy walks you through a detailed process that teaches you how to set up your storefront. Their process comes with videos and helpful blurbs that walk you through, step by step. You should be prepared to write descriptions (the longer and more detailed the better for searching purposes), upload images, categorize and tag your listings, and add bios and social media information to your page.

Pay close attention to all of your listing options and use Etsy's descriptions to determine which type of listing is right for you.

Etsy works like a giant DIY crafter search engine so using keywords everywhere you can on the site is important. You can find these keywords by thinking about what people would need to search in order to find your product.

Once you have your listings on Etsy, get to know the site. Look at the messages feature, figure out how promotions work, explore other Etsy pages that sell similar products to yours. If you get stuck, use Youtube or Etsy for help and support. With a little patience and a little hard work, your shop will be selling out in no time flat!